While I’m not at all someone who believes that positive thinking cures all ills, brings all joys, and sends millions of dollars pouring into your bank account (as I said pretty clearly on our recent episode of Spawned), I do understand that positive thinking does have proven effects in terms of lowering stress, keeping you healthier, and providing better coping skills during difficult times.
It’s not hard to see how all those effects can in turn lead to more successes in life as a whole.
After speaking with fitness instructor, trainer (she was the first female trailer for the Philadelphia Flyers!), author, and professional joy spreader Sandy Joy Weston this week on Spawned, both Kristen and I have been thinking a lot about positivity. Like what we can do to help reboot our mindset and create more positivity in our lives.
Top photo: Eye for Ebony via Unsplash
Here are few simple tips.
1. Know that positivity begets positivity. Do you want to be around negative people all the time? Do you want to work for them? Hire them? Be in romantic relationships with them? Exactly.
So start by knowing that while there’s negativity in everyone’s life sometimes, the more it’s there, the more it stands in the way of you reaching goals, whether they’re around life, career, family, money, love or health.
Also, take inventory of the people in your life right now. Are they mostly positive? If so, good! If not, you need to really think about what’s going on.
Photo: Uroš Jovičić for Unsplash
2. Keep the negative stuff in perspective. We’ve all been there: We get 25 compliments on our work (or haircut or parenting skills or funny tweet) and then dwell on the one criticism. It’s the kind of thing that can derail any one of us so easily, especially when we’re not in the best of all possible headspaces. So really work to keep the negativity in your life in perspective.
Also, it helps to consider whether criticism is constructive and coming from a place of love and support, or just coming from a place of anger, jealousy, or negativity. If the latter, it really says more about that person than it says about you; don’t get sucked into their trap.
3. Avoid comparing yourself to others all the time. Of course we can’t help but measure ourselves next to others in our circles, but doing it too much can mess with your mind — and your goals.
One of the best bosses I ever had in advertising was also the most successful — I believe in part because he was the only one I had ever worked for who didn’t spend a ton of time dwelling on what everyone else was doing in comparison. Every other creative director would turn in work and say, “Ooh…I bet this will make so-and-so jealous!” Or “You know that XYX would never have come up with this!” But my boss? Never even thought about those guys.
Comparing yourself to your peers is an especially dangerous trap if you spend time on social media, where so many people only present the best possible version of their lives.
(We don’t do that, promise!)
Tip: If your Instagram or Pinterest feed is giving you agita, log off for a while and refocus on the good things in your own life.
4. Work on getting out of a negative headspace sooner. As Sandy explained, we all experience (important!) emotions like sadness and anger in response to tough situations and that’s good and healthy. The trick, however, is to work on shortening the cycle of negativity or pessimism, and find your way back to positivity sooner. This way you can be more productive and refocus from your failures and obstacles back to your goals and achievements.
Important note: Negativity is not the same as depression. If you’re suffering from depression, it’s important to talk about it, if only anonymously, and to seek treatment. If you suffer from depression, you are never to blame for “not getting out of it sooner.” Some things are just out of our control and that’s okay.
5. Do something every day toward your goal. Being productive and crossing things off our list can be its own motivation, which creates even more productivity and motivation. It helps us feel in control of our own lives and destinies, and eliminates that feeling of powerlessness.
So if you want to write a book, write a little every day — even if it’s not good. (Ha, been there.) If you want to get in shape, even a walk around the block every day is doing something. And because you’re not comparing yourself to others — right? — it’s something good!
Sandy suggests that three minutes a day is all it takes — and doesn’t that sound so much more achievable than five or ten?
6. Journal. Sandy is a huge fan of journaling as a way to get out feelings, set goals, jumpstart creativity, find inspiration, and track progress. She talks a lot about it in her book, Train Your Head and Your Body Will Follow.
In addition to those, I highly recommend the Day One app which even lets you publish your journal in book form, should you ever want to. They also have lots of excellent journaling tips from all kinds of experts on their blog.
7. Take time to express gratitude. There are more than 40 research studies on the effects of gratitude, and the effects…just, wow.
Expressing gratitude makes us happier. It makes people want to be around us more. It makes us healthier. It increases self-esteem. It even boosts our careers and relationships.
So once a day, take a moment to express gratitude in whatever way works best for you. At the table at dinner with your family each night, in the morning in the shower, or hey…that can even be what you start using your journal for.
To hear more about the connections between positivity and success, take a listen to our chat with the energetic Sandy Joy Weston. We think you’ll get a lot out of it.
You can learn more about Sandy at SandyJoyWeston.com, and find her new book Train Your Head and Your Body Will Follow: Reach Any Goal in 3 Minutes a Day from our affiliate Amazon or your local bookstore.
And be sure to subscribe to our feed and download the episode so you can catch us even when you’re offline. Thanks for listening!
Cool Picks of the Week
Sandy: Qet Botanicals makes natural, organic, handcrafted premium beauty products for skin, hair, face and body.
Kristen: Dazzle Dry nail polish is her new obsession. It’s a non-toxic alternative to gel polishes, doesn’t require UVA/UVB light, and dries in five minutes — and it lasts!
Liz: She just discovered the Vinglacé wine chiller, a brilliant mom-invented, vacuum-sealed wine bottle insulator that keeps your wine at the right temperature without pre-chilling or freezing it.